I did it! This has been the most intense marathon training plan so far.
What an adventure it has been. I did it. After what felt like a never ending training block of 17 weeks. This time I upped training to 5 runs per week, and I even did 300km in the month of January alone. I am in the best shape of my life physically. A month ago I totally smashed my half marathon pb, and was looking good for setting a new marathon pb in London. BUT - I did an extra training run that wasn't on my plan that involved going down some irregular steps on a big hill and injured my hip with only 10 days to go. I saw a physio, rested, did walking recovery, took all the supplements I have in my cupboard. But I knew when I got to the start line (after driving through the night after a concert in Belgium on the Saturday night - which was exhausting in itself) that I wasn't fully recovered.
The race started really well. I was excited. Probably too excited, and wasted a bit of energy soaking up the atmosphere and high-fiving children on my way round. I stuck with the sub 3:40:00 pacer well for the first half - though it was hard to do that when trying to get around the crowds and slower runners. I had to do quite a bit of weaving just to stick with him.
My hip started talking to me after about 10km. By half way at 21km I was in pain. At 30km I hit the wall and it was sheer stubbornness and determination that kept me going to the end. By the finish I was in agony in my hip. When I stopped running it completely seized up and I could barely even walk.
Still, I am pleased to have done it in 03:52:14. Bitter sweet, because I can just imagine what might have been possible had I been in top shape. Going to have to go for my good for age qualifying time at another event.
Photos show the total contrast of me near the start compared to right at the end.
A massive shout out to everyone at Burnham Joggers , Antwerp Athletics, and Antwerp Running Crew for training with me. To my family for travelling with the babies to come and cheer me on on race day, and of course to Tom Kingsbury for being my running mentor and emotional support throughout.
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.